Often people are faced with life changing and incredibly unexpected occurances in life. These events lead to taking different directions than antipated. For Deborah Barnes, this lead her to follow her dreams of writing and becoming an author. Her inspiration? None other than her beloved cats. The relationship that Ms. Barnes shares with her cats lead to her inspiration for her first book, The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey: A Journey of the Extraordinarily Ordinary.
Deborah Barnes is also the author of the blog Zee & Zoey’s Chronicle Connection, where she shares beautiful and extraordinary artwork, stories and photos of her beloved feline crew. Ms. Barnes currently resides in South Florida.
Please tell us a bit about your book and what you hope readers take away from reading it.
The Chronicles of Zee & Zoey is a heartfelt account of my life with my cats and the lessons learned from them. Combining a warm, humorous, and conversational style of writing with stunning photos and charming artwork, I immediately immerse readers into the world of Zee, my lovable male Maine Coon cat, and Zoey, my high-spirited female Bengal cat, as they share their amazing relationship and bond that formed between the two of them and a subsequent litter of kittens. What makes this story so compelling, is that I narrate the journey of the cats through the personal trials and tribulations of my own life. Readers will easily be able to relate to the many moments I share as I tackle topics from divorce, to moving, to single parenting to unemployment. This book is meant to inspire people to reexamine how they perceive their lives as they learn the ultimate message that Zee and Zoey teach us – to embrace the ordinary in life and dare to make it extraordinary.
Who/what inspires you the most within your book?
I am most inspired by the behavior and attitude of my cats – each cat (all seven of them) is individually unique, yet all of them have the innate sensibilities and capabilities for love without judgment or discrimination.
Do you have a favorite line or excerpt from your book?
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And then Zee. At least that’s how the story goes at our house…”
If your current release were to be turned into a movie, who would you love to see play what characters and why?
I always joke that if my feline clan were part of a movie, it would be some sort of adventure. Because each of my cats is so unique, the stars playing them are equally as unique. Sarah Jessica Parker’s character Carrie would play Mia – that carefree, city girl with her love of shoes, purses, make-up, boys, and clothes. I think Sandra Bullock would be perfect for Peanut – “Miss Congeniality” – the girl next door and voted most friendliest. Rolz would be played by Simon Cowell – too important and bored to care what anyone thinks and a handsome playboy. Jazz would be played by the surly and dignified Sean Connery and Harley would be played by the rubenestic Kathy Najimy who is so humorous and beautiful. And the stars of the show? None other than the media magnets Brad and Angelina. Brad for his boyish good looks, devotion to his wife, his goofy, playful side and his love of his children, and Angelina for her sexy, strong, confident looks and attitude, but yet her love and commitment to raising her family.
What are your favorite aspects of writing?
Making use of words to weave a descriptive sentence that turns into a perfect paragraph. I love words and I love crafting a story.
Your least favorite aspects of writing?
The little chores that are required to publish a book
Who are some of your favorite authors/books?
For entertainment, I like to read authors such as Maeve Binchy, Anne Rice, Danielle Steel, and LaVyrle Specner. I loved the book Dewey the Small Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicky Myron and Buckley’s Story by Ingrid King
What are you reading right now?
Until Tuesday – A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him by Luis Carlos Montalvan
If you could have a dinner party and invite five authors – dead or alive – who would they be and what would you serve them?
Anne Rice, James Herriot, Beverly Cleary, Erma Bombeck, and Ernest Hemingway. I would serve them delicious homemade chicken parmesan with garlic/tomato bread and a bountiful tossed salad.
What is a book that you wish you could say that you had written and why?
Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss – is a timeless, brilliant classic and it is about cats!
What is the greatest piece of advice (for writing and/or just living) that you have heard?
“People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
— Mother Teresa